News

The Refugee Support Express – 14 December 2017

Welcome to the Refugee Support Express

This week:

Breaking in Bangladesh

Shocking statistics shared this week by UNICEF highlight how the humanitarian crisis in Bangladesh is still critical. Around 58% of the 646,000 refugees who have fled since 25 August are children, and with thousands of refugees continuing to escape from the horrific persecutions in Myanmar, the need for aid in local camps is dire.

Last month, we began the enormous task of introducing our aid with dignity model in Bangladesh; identifying Tumbru Camp – a purgatory for 6,318 residents who have escaped from Myanmar by just 200 metres – as somewhere in greatest need of aid.

We are desperate to continue supporting this Rohingya community trapped in no man’s land. While we carried out our first successful food distribution to the residents of the camp last week, there is an incredible amount that still needs to be done; most pressingly, nutritional and medical (see UNICEF report for more details).

This is a huge, collective challenge that neither us nor any other charity can carry out without your help. Your donations are invaluable, and are already helping us to aid those suffering under one of the cruelest humanitarian crises of our times.

We urge you to support our Christmas appeal by donating as much as you can today. We cannot be bystanders, so let’s stand by one another.

You can make your UK donation here today. If you are outside of the UK, please make your donation here.

Keeping Up With Katsikas

Katsikas Camp will be operational from Monday 18 December, and our volunteers have been working around the clock to ensure that the camp is ready to give a warm welcome to its incoming residents.

Our volunteers have worked all weekend to prepare the women’s boutique and children’s clothes shop; and their hard work certainly won’t be wasted, as we are predicting 150 arrivals each day next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Travelling from the Islands, we hope that the camp will restore some sense of solace and safety to the refugees’ lives, as we prepare to offer the aid with dignity and co-operation that the 500 new residents deserve.

With such a large influx of people over a such a small space of time, however, we urgently need some extra volunteers, so we can service everyone’s needs.

This video will give you an idea of what volunteering is like:

If you would like to spend your Christmas contributing to an amazing cause and working as part of an incredible community, please get in touch today.

 

http://www.refugeesupport.eu/help-us-with-your-time/

#AidWithDignity Podcasts

‘It’s very rare that humanitarian crisis is driven by natural causes. Mankind usually has some role to play.’

And if mankind caused this crisis, mankind can also cure it together.

For this weeks’ podcast, Paul spoke to Vickie Hawkins, the executive director of Medecins sans Frontieres UK (MSF). Like us, MSF is fighting to provide critical support in Bangladesh.

In a fascinating conversation about ethics, values and the importance of humanity as the most powerful force for good and change, Paul and Vickie discuss the difficulty of making huge decisions with finite resources, and the pressure of prioritizing aid when so much is needed.

Tune in to hear more, and subscribe today to our weekly podcasts so that you never miss one.

 

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Winter Warmth

As snow falls and temperatures drop around Europe, it’s important to keep warm.

The weather in Bangladesh is now very cold, and with 2,274 children under the age of 12 and 1,146 under the age of five, we are asking you to share your warmth this Christmas by purchasing a warm coat or jumper to one of our young refugees.

For the cost of a just a fiver, we can purchase a thick coat or jumper to keep a little one warm during these chilling times. For a very reasonable price, we can also purchase a coat and jumper set that’ll help keep little hands and toes toasty over the cold season.

Simply go to our Donate Page today and type “Warm Clothes” in the comment box, and your donation will provide a child with some warm clothes this winter.

UK Donors may be eligible for Gift Aid, which will increase your donation by 25%.

Donors from outside of the UK can also help keep a little one warm by donating here.

Here’s a few warms items that you, our kind donors, have purchased so far:

Aid With Co-Operation, Aid With Dignity, Help Refugees, Help Refugees in Bangladesh, Help Refugees in Greece, Help Rohingya, Help Syrian Refugees, Non-Profit Charity, refugee camp, Refugee Charity, Refugee Support, Refugee Support EU, Refugee Support Greece, Refugees in Bangladesh, Refugees in Greece, Support Refugees, Volunteer

Thank you for reading, and we’ll see you next time.

Please contact us today at [email protected] if you are interested in volunteering, making a donation, or just want to get in touch.

 Thank you from everybody at Refugee Support for your help so far.

RS

Monday Podcast: MSF UK Executive Director Vickie Hawkins

We met Vickie at this year’s Meaning Conference talking about Medecins sans Frontieres‘ guiding principles of neutrality, impartiality and independence.

MSF have a long history working in the most difficult circumstance and having to make difficult choices. Vickie talks about how these principles and medical ethics help with many of the difficult decisions she and the organisation need to make with limited resources and enormous needs.

Do they focus on preventive health, non-communicable needs, acute malnutirition, trauma? And what is their campaigning role, calling out the causes of these crises? How do they restore dignity and what does that mean?

Like us, MSF is also in Bangladesh and we talk about the dilemmas there:

“At the moment, we’re focused on ensuring that people have what they need to survive. Over time, you can look at bringing in some of those activities that start to bring a bit of normal activity into people’s lives…but how can you normalise a situation where you’ve got a million people living together in really unsuitable circumstances? Do we want to normalise that? And those people don’t want to be refugees forever.”

New to Podcasts?

You can listen online by pressing play above. Or you can download it by clicking on the little down arrow.

A better idea is to have our weekly episodes automatically downloaded to your mobile so you never miss one. You will need a podcast or podcatcher app.

On an iPhone: ‘Podcasts’ is already on your phone. Open the app, search for ‘Standing with Refugees’, click on our show (it has our red logo), then click Subscribe.

With iTunes: Open iTunes, search for ‘Standing with Refugees’, click on our show (it has our red logo), then click Subscribe.

On Android: Download an app. We use Podbean but Podcast Addict or Podcast Player are others. Search for ‘Standing with Refugees’, click on our show (it has our red logo), then click either Subscribe or Follow.

Then, every Monday morning, our show will magically appear on your mobile and you can listen wherever and whenever you want. These apps have setting so that they will only download over WiFi so they don;t use up your data allowance, and they will remove the episode after listening so they don;t take up your memory.

Volunteers: a good news story

It has been incredibly inspiring and rewarding to discover that there are so many people around the world who are willing to give up their time and money to put so much energy and love into supporting refugees.

We have seen over 500 volunteers from 34 different nations come to help in the camps where we work. Every one of them has added a little more to what started out as a threadbare shop on one camp, and turned into operations on 7 camps with 12 shops, 2 playgrounds, 2 cafeterias, 2 vans, a community kitchen, language school and outdoor gym.

Not only does this need volunteers working on our frontline but we also have a large team of people working behind the scenes to keep things running smoothly. We couldn’t do anything without these people, many who volunteered on a camp and then carried on giving up their time to do good work.

In a world where it is sometimes too easy to despair, this is good news! Together, there is no limit to what we can achieve.

The Refugee Support Express – 7 December 2017

Welcome to the Refugee Support Express

This week:

Breaking in Bangladesh

 Yesterday, over 6,000 people in desperate need of aid at the Tumbru Camp received crucial food packages, as we carried out our first full distribution.

On Tuesday, the Bangladesh team undertook the enormous task of preparing, with the help of the local Bangladesh population, enough food packages to feed the 6,000. The team also secured a medical team and midwife to accompany them to the camp to aid and support the 67 pregnant woman residing at the camp.

The  team have not rested for a single moment during their first three weeks in Bangladesh, as they have conducted a thorough needs assessment, had many meetings with local actors and secured support from both the local community and Bangladesh Army.

Our long-term plans include building child friendly spaces, but there is a lot of urgent work that needs to be done before these plans can be further developed.

We plan to make Tumbru Camp the focus of our attention during the upcoming months, as reports monitoring the crisis in Bangladesh predict even tougher times to come for refugees. 

This is an enormous task and undertaking, but we will not be bystanders. We urgently need your help, and ask you to assist by donating anything you can today.

 Catching Up With the Camps 

There is currently a huge push to transfer refugees from the overcrowded and unsuitable Greek islands to the mainland; and fortunately, we are seeing some progress.

However, LM Village, Filippiada and Doliana camp are becoming increasingly crowded, and we expect them to become well over capacity as we enter the new year. We also predict that Katsikas will reach capacity soon after its opening this month.

Whilst the mainland camps are better able to support people than the ones on the islands, we need your help at our camps now more than ever so that we can continue to aid with dignity during these hectic times. Without the help of our volunteers, our camps would not be the strong sources of support that they are today.

Will you join us at our camps and aid refugees today?

#AidWithDignity Podcasts

For this weeks’ podcast, we talked to Refugee Support co-founder, John Sloan, about how to get started in an enormous humanitarian crisis. John and Paul founded Refugee Support two years’ ago, and have started out more than once in chaos with little more than a dream to offer aid with dignity.

Having just returned from two weeks in Bangladesh, getting started with a brilliant team to offer aid to Tumbru Camp, John shares his insight into what it’s like to face crisis with a cool head, but a determined heart.

Next week, Paul will be talking to Vickie Hawkins, the executive director of Medecins sans Frontieres UK.

Subscribe today to our weekly podcasts so that you never miss one.

A Mile In My Shoes

Before the northern Greek border was closed two years ago, refugees fled for the mountains of Macedonia in their thousands; seeking safety and sanctuary from the border beyond.

Unfortunately, many refugees still remain stuck on the wrong side of this border.

 To raise awareness and vital funds to aid refugees fleeing and trapped around Europe, we would like to invite you to join us in April, as we take a trek through the Macedonia mountains.

Following the route that many took as they ran from the perils of the lands they left behind, this will be a tough walk and a challenging fundraiser as you walk many miles in the shoes of those who walked before you.

 But this challenge will raise vital awareness for refugees in Europe, and so we ask you: are YOU up for it?
Thank you for reading, and we’ll see you next time.

Please contact us today at [email protected] if you are interested in volunteering, making a donation, or just want to get in touch.

 

Refugee Support

FUNdraising for refugees – great job Bristol!

“Bristol’s culturally vibrant Stokes Croft is home to The Love Inn, where we hosted a DJ event fundraiser for Refugee Support. In keeping with the tone of the venue, we went for a night of house and disco music to get everyone dancing. Both the venue and the DJs generously performed for free, bring a variety of music styles and crowds together. Despite the weather being extremely cold and wet and it being a Tuesday, we raised an impressive £150 for Refugee Support.

“Alongside the best of local talent spinning and mixing tunes, people were donating bras too, as we had included a request on our flyer! It was a fun extra that added a USP to our night.

“A mix of students and locals meant our message spread a long way and everyone was still dancing when the lights went on at 1! It was a great night and everybody who attended was very supportive of the cause, even heading out onto the street to attract more people inside. By giving out materials with information about Refugee Support, more awareness was raised and hopefully spread to friends/housemates/family too!

“We are very hopeful to do another event in the spring, as there is definitely scope and interest from local people and within our university! It was very encouraging that after the event people were asking about the next one, and we were still being given donations by people who had wanted to come but hadn’t made it.

“The kindness and support of people in Bristol has amazed me always, and we can’t wait to raise even more next time!

“Special thanks to the Love Inn and our DJs – Whateley, Chaks, Stone & West, and Seffy.Quorum!”

Satya & Savannah, fourth-year students at UoB

Co-founder John Sloan: Getting started in Bangladesh

John has been following the plight of the Rohingya for some years and when there was yet another exodus in August this year he became very keen to help. In September we were lucky to meet a team of experienced people who wanted to join us and he has just returned from 2 weeks in Bangladesh getting us started.

We talk candidly about how you go about helping in a sudden acute crisis with over a million refugees, the challenges, the other organisations out there and what our role can be.

It is of course impossible to help everybody but we have found a camp of 6000 people and as this podcast goes out we will be doing our first distribution of fruit and vegetables, specifically focussing on the under 5s.

You can help by donating here

The Refugee Support Express – 30 November 2017

Welcome to the Refugee Support Express

This week:

Breaking in Bangladesh

Friday marked John last day in Cox’s Bazar, but there was no rest for the weary before his journey back to Greece.

Following last weeks’ decision that Tumbru Camp was in need of aid with dignity first, John and the Bangladesh team met with Dil Mohammad, community leader, and the Army to organize escorts from the border guards into the camp, and to finalise distribution plans.

Dil has asked us to prioritise the 1,000 children under the age of five, and the 67 pregnant woman living in the camp. Trapped in No Mans’ Land, isolated and in an area where around a million people are in desperate need, the truth is that the whole camp needs help. It is testament to this community that they want us first to help the most vulnerable and – in his words – their future generation.

This purgatory is no place for any man, and whilst we’re doing everything we can to help, we need your support and donations to ensure that we can bring aid with dignity to all residents of the Tumbru Camp today.

Will you stand with us?

 

Keeping Up With Katsikas

Our fourth camp in Greece, Katsikas, is due to open in just over two weeks, and our volunteers are working hard to ensure that our market on the camp will be ready for its grand opening.

This week, Paul and John checked on how well the renovations to accommodation were progressing , and were happy to see that it is a hive of activity. Whilst life for refugees at our camps has been much improved thanks to our wonderful donors and volunteers, there are still many refugees in dire need of aid with cooperation around Europe.

We need your help to deliver our aid with dignity model. Will you donate your time and help us to support refugees today?

 

A Mile In My Shoes

‘Our journey to Turkey was a sad one. You could say a tragic one. We were chased by the members of Daesh. They shot at us – they were about to kill many times, of course. They took our identification papers to prevent us from leaving their territories, and they tried to take our two girls for marriage.’

This Monday, we were joined by Abdul-Salam and his family for our weekly podcasts. After ISIL laid siege in Deir ez-Zur, escape became a necessary measure for Abdul and his family, who were forced to make a terrifying and perilous escape from their war-ravaged home.

In this podcast, Abdul and his family courageously share their chilling tale, as well as their dreams for the future, for despite the horrors that they have witnessed, they remain optimistic and driven.

‘Our request is not impossible. We want medical care and education. We want peace, security and stability. Like other people. And we want to go back to Syria and to live in peace.’

We recommend that you take the time to walk a mile in the shoes of this incredible family by listening to their story. Tragic but also hopeful, Abdul and his families’ story will leave you with an enlightened outlook.

Subscribe today to our weekly podcasts so that you never miss one.

 

Seasons Greeting

‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the camp

Dinner was shared between warm, loving hands.

The market was bursting with food bought to share

By the love and the kindness of strangers who care.

 

The children were happy with shoes on their feet

Donated with love to the local shoetique.

Playing games with their friends and our kind volunteers,

There was no room for sadness, but only for cheers.

 

We invite you this Christmas to share your festivities,

By purchasing gifts from our non-profit charity.

With recipes, flavours, and spices galore

There’s a Syrian cookbook to satisfy all

 

We’ve got t-shirts and calendars, shipped straight to your door –

There’s gifts fit for everyone to love and adore!

The best part is all proceeds help offer support

And aid to refugees everywhere, small, tall and short

 

So by buying your loved ones a gift of significance,

You’ll be helping to make a magnificient difference!

 

We work hard to regain a small sense of normality,

And with help from you, friends, we can aid solidarity.

 

Thank you for reading, and we’ll see you next time.

Please contacts us today at [email protected] if you are interested in volunteering, making a donation, or just want to get in touch.

 

Refugee Support

Standing with Refugees Podcast

We will air a conversation with someone extraordinary every Monday.

The people living or working through the current humanitarian crises affecting refugees are inspirational. We have launched a weekly podcast to give them a voice and to give everyone an opportunity to learn from them.

[New to podcasts? It is basically a radio show that you can listen to your phone or computer. Here is a good explainer and how-to guide.]

Every Monday, we will air a conversation with someone standing with refugees. Sharing these stories is the latest addition to our ‘Aid with Dignity’ model. We kicked off the series last week with our Country Leader Daniel Mendies talking about his lifelong journey into humanitarian work from Nepal to Afghanistan to Greece to Bangladesh. This week we hear from Abdul-Salam and his family who had to flee the ISIS threat in Syria, make a perilous journey across the Med and are now safe but stuck in Greece.

Paul Hutchings, CEO of Refugee Support Europe says “Even after 2 years working with refugees, I’m still bowled over by the compassion and conviction of the individuals who have chosen to help where the need is greatest. And I’m still inspired by the resilience and capacity of the people who have had no choice but to flee from violence. I’ve learnt so much from them, I would encourage everyone to listen and subscribe.’

You can listen to our podcast online here refugeesupport.podbean.com or subscribe with your favourite podcast service.

Abdul-Salam: A father who had to flee Syria with his wife and 5 children

Abdul-Salam’s had to escape from Deir ez-Zur after ISIL laid seige to it and made life impossible. He describes what that was like and the perilous, life-threatening journey they made. Despite these horrors, this family is still cheerful, optimistic and proud. Their resilience is inspirational.

“Our request is not impossible. We want medical care and education. We want peace, security and stability. Like other people. And we want to go back to Syria and to live in peace.”

The Refugee Support Express – 23 November 2017

Welcome to the Refugee Support Express

This week:

Breaking in Bangladesh

This week, the team visited local camps, conducting a full and thorough needs assessment to determine where the immediate need for #AidWithDignity is greatest in Bangladesh.

John and Daniel met with Md. Zillur Rahman Chowdhury, the Deputy Commissioner for Chittagong and Major General Mohammad Rahman, General Officer commanding at Cox’s Bazar. We’ve received great support from the local authorities who have gone out of their way to give us access to different camps.

After extensive research, we’ve identified Tumbru Camp as a priority. Located on the border of Bangladesh and just 200 meters from the border of Myanmar, Tumbru Camp is a no man’s land that is hosting 6,000 people, including many children, in desperate need of dignified aid.

As the Rohingya crisis worsens, the number of people fleeing to Bangladesh is increasing at a startling rate, and we shall not be bystanders.

We are optimistic that by next week, we will be able to service the Tumbru Camp – but there is a lot of work to be done and we need your help. Will you stand with us?


Introducing #AidWithDignity Podcasts

 

On Monday, we aired the first podcast in our new series, ‘Working with Refugees – #AidwithDignity’.

For our first episode, John chatted to Daniel about introducing our aid with dignity and co-operation model in Bangladesh; discussing Daniel’s incredible humanitarian work, and the importance of holding your head up high.

Our weekly podcasts, which will welcome a mix of volunteers, refugees, collaborators and sector specialists to talk with us, will be published every Monday morning and will be available to catch up on at any time.

For next weeks’ podcast, we shall be joined by a Syrian family who will share the tale of their terrifying and lucky escape from the persecutions in Daesh. Delightful company despite the horrors they have witnessed, this inspirational family will also share with us their dreams to return to Syria once peace is attained, and their drive to aid other refugees in the meantime.

We highly recommend that you tune in for what promises to be an incredibly moving discussion.

Subscribe today to our weekly podcasts so that you never miss one.

Standing #WithRefugees

We have joined the proud coalition of 200+ organisations that are standing #WithRefugees. Millions of people across the globe have already made a stand by showing their support for the refugee case.

You too can show yours by adding your name to this petition.

 

Jamnesty

If you’re in Warwick today, join us for an evening of fun and fundraising with Warwick Amnesty.

Warwick Amnesty is calling all performers – spoken word poets, singers, beat boxers and musicians – to sign up and perform live to your friends and loved ones.

Jamnesty welcomes all talent – and all donations support a great cause.

Cheers

Still struggling for Christmas ideas? We have plenty!

From recipe books and calendars to T-shirts and pins, we’ve got glorious gifts to make many hearts sing.

Proceeds are always spent supporting refugees, and we ship to anywhere in the world; so share your Christmas cheer this year by making a difference!

 

Thank you for reading, and we’ll see you next time.
Please contacts us today at [email protected] if you are interested in volunteering, making a donation, or just want to get in touch.

Refugee Support